Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spring Fling Has Come Home

Many thanks to Julie (center square), Tami (1st border), Jeanette (2nd border), and Marisa (quilting & finishing) for this absolutely fabulous mini. I believe I am actually perhaps the first person to receive a quilt in the Spring Fling Round Robin, and I do feel a small bit of guilt for that! Nevertheless, this creation is amazing.

(double click and look closely!)
It is immensely cheerful and very summery (or springy!). The colors are so fat out of my crayola box, in that I wouldn't put red , orange, yellow & blue together, but that is what makes this swap so fun. I have received something in colors that I never would have made for myself, and I LOVE it.

Unlike the other round robinettes, I did have the anticipation of seeing the quilts being made, and getting to oogle earlier on since I knew when I saw this one, that it was coming to me eventually. It does become a little bit anticlimactic. I am here to tell you though that the photos that have been blogged on this quilt's progress in no way show how lovely the finished piece truly is. The colors are vibrant. It is all done in batiks that I have seen nowhere in stores around here. Tami's little tiny applique stitches are unbelievable. I really ought to get some silk thread for my appliques too; it's highly effective in that it doesn't show whatsoever.
The quilting thread on the top is a pretty and soft pastel variagated thread. I would be interested to know if it is Italian as I looked earlier this week for an oceany variagated and saw nothing like this. How do quilters dream up where to take their free-motioning stitches?? This is where I hit a stumbling block and the quilt's creativity suffers. Bellisimo!

Here's a shot of the back so that you can see the pretty free-motion quilting Marisa did. She has so much more control than I do. It makes me want to go practice!
A close-up of the pretty lotus-like flowers. A few of the orange pieces have a touch of metallic spotting which really catches the sunlight.

I can't say thanks (grazie!!!...sorry my Finnish is rusty since I quit working for Valmet - Metso 4 years ago!) enough! I only hope all of you that worked on this receive something you love as much.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Blue Scraps

The blue scraps are going to this queen-sized bed quilt. MANY thanks to Amy and Julie for passing along some great blue pieces to my cause. I have heard that there may be a couple more packages of blues coming - and they will be most appreciated.
The top of the bed quilt will be made of 12 of these 18" heart blocks. Each block will be sashed in strips of scrappy yellows. I haven't decided what the sides of the quilt will be yet, but I have a lovely Asian-ish blue for a wide border. I have four different blue & yellow small prints for the backgrounds of the heart. I know that the picture here does not show the print very well. I am trying to make myself do 1-2 of these weekly so as to get them done! They do not take that long. In fact it takes longer to cut all the squares. But I get side-tracked and bored too quickly. So far I have six finished.

Other projects...
- preparing for this Saturday's garage sale (YUCK!) - make a little fabric $$!
- I remade the ocean for the beach quilt that I showed last post. I decided my 1st attempt could be improved upon. I am also searching for a nice sailboat picture (with spinnaker) to replicate.
-I have joined Ginger's quilt swap on the forums. I stumbled upon the posting yesterday, but had my dates confused. I thought it had not closed yet since there were still 5 slots open. Turned out it closed the day before. But, many thanks to Ginger for making an exception for me! Like I really need to make one more thing!! The ideas are a-flowin'. I just need to get my partner's preferences before I start anything.
-My Spring Fling RR still needs it's label and to be packaged. It will get mailed Saturday to somebody!
-My middle man is turning 4 on Sunday so we have a little family party to prepare for. Oh better be sunny so we can be outside, otherwise I have to clean 30 yards of fabric pieces off of the dining room table :-O
-And for all inquiring, there is still no DQSIII quilt in my mailbox, but I have given up hoping for it. Now I am looking for that Miniature Booty quilt that should be mailed by now. Despite already knowing who my partner is (she made a goof and posted it to my blog, with her identity), I am still excited to see what was made for me. BTW, Lisa...I miss Lucky! I hope he likes his PA home.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summer 4SQS Sneak Peek

Nothing says summer to me more than white sands and turquoise waves. I hope my partner likes the beach too. Amidst sending out all of the summer swap partners, I started on my piece this week. It is a simple beach scene with sand, sea, sky, and a few other key elements. I am currently contemplating adding a sailboat and an adirondak chair (ie, like the beaches of Long Island have). Time to do a web search.

Here's just a teensy-little looksee...

I have decided to use this swap as a time to try raw (fused) edge applique. My summer quilt uses that technique. And it is amazing the amount of detail that can be added.

Friday, May 23, 2008

An Apple for the Teacher

The quilting, binding and label are finished. We will present my son's teacher with this in a couple of weeks.

The picture makes the writing on the label appear washed out, but in reality it quite black.

Here's the finished front of the quilt.

The quilting on the shadow-drop boxes is simple straight stitching done with the walking foor in a color that matches the fabric. The same color was used in the bobbin, so the back has many colored boxes outlined. In retrospect, I wish I had done the back all black, but then.

Here are some close ups...

Some of the students did a great job!! I think the teacher will love it.
The signatures of each student were Photoshopped onto the scanned art images. I had them sign their name on a white piece of paper. I was concerned that 5 and 6 year olds might not be able to write their name small enough such that it wasn't all over the art. That was time consuming for me, but worked out well.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Round Robin Sneak Peek

My round robin quilt flimsy arrived yesterday from Kathy. Here's the before...
It's a very bright, cheerfully happy piece done from batiks. It's done with raw edge applique, which I have never done. Before I actually saw it, I thought I'd hand quilt it since that's what I usually do. But holding it in my hand I knew it needed to be machined. I don't profess to be fantastic at machine quilting, but I don't think I have killed this quilt either!! Much of it is quilted in a monofilament so as not to show quite so much.

My light is not the best here, but you get the idea. The back reminds me of an asteroid field in color! Fun...
Once it is bound (in fuscia), I'll post the finished pic over here. It's going to be mailed to Julie or Jan or Kate ...or one of the other 23 people in the swap!! Gotta wait and see :-)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekly Progress

I know if there are any of you out there who were watching the progress of this quilt of mine, you probably fell asleep from the boredom of waiting for me to actually work on it! I started IT last fall. I did a little more on the blocks initially, but quickly discovered that the star blocks I loved so much, really took a very long time to make...close to 4 hours each. After the holidays, I did a bit more. That is about where I quilt blogging about it. I had it designed, and somehow lost the plans and measurements when I cleaned off my desk. So typical for me. If the desk were a heap of a mess, I'd know right where things were. I puttered along, making something like 160 of these half-square triangles (see picture below), just to add more of the colorful fabrics into the quilt. I also designed in the saw-tooth star points to add off of the center block. That took FOREVER! I endeavored that this week would be when I'd get the top of the quilt into a single piece. Here it is Friday afternoon, and an hour ago I decided it was time to stop rummaging in blue scraps and complete my week's goal...

Without further ado, here's my quilt of 1000 triangles...

The flash mutes the colors a bit, but they are soft greens, aquas, and shades similar.

The border that will most obviously miter onto this will be in large part be the background color, but it will have tone-on-tone beige starts within in, and a touch of the blue and green too somehow (as I make a funny, as though in thought, face!).

As for other weekly doings...
My Miniature Booty Swap quilt was mailed to ABC quilter on Tuesday. She ought to be getting it today or tomorrow I hope. I hope Lucky enjoys his new home.

I have also put the binding on my son's teacher's Class Quilt. It has just a touch of finish quilting still to do. I'll post it this weekend.

Four Seasons Summer Swap is about to close due to numbers reaching 100+. I'd have closed it already, but I've been lazy!

And many thanks to those of you that have been so kind as to want to raid your blue scraps for me. I do appreciate the favor!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where my blocks have gone...

I thought I might show how two of the blocks I worked on for the Spring Fling Round Robin have evolved with the quilty greatness of two other partners...

This was my first; I did the dragonfly center. The middle border is by Carol, and Valerie did the outer border. It is all so cohesive and whimsical; I love it.
Here's another...
Here, Carol (same Carol as above actually) did the inner turquiose, Santa Fe-ish block. I did the middle border (blogged here), and Jane did the outer border. I love Jane's choice of large scale prints and corner square diamonds to carry the wild style throughout. Although this style is not for everyone, I do personally like how it all turned out.
I encourage you to come view the wonderful quilts as they enter their final stage of developement. All are at their final quilter being sandwiched & quilted & bound to send to the final recipient. One is completed, but many will post here soon. This is a phenomenal group of quilters here. The piecing and applique work is extremely good. Plus they are each challenged to create a piece that the stage was set for by a previous person - means they have to be very good at thinking outside the box (and outside of "their" comfort box). I will likely host another of these this summer -

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Soliciting your scraps

I am starting a scrappy quilt that is to be made of largely dark and medium tones of blue. If anybody has scraps of these that would like to rid their stash of them, I'd be happy to take them or to bargain a trade for something I may have. If this sounds plausible to you, I need the pieces to be at least 4" x 4", and any mid-tone to deep-tone (AKA navy) blue, solids, prints, dots, stripes, etc. email of leave a comment if interested. No polyester, flannel or homespuns please.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

My Mother's Day has been just as any other day thus far. It's only 7am. The house is still quiet. And I have been at the sewing machine for an hour working on a project and mumbling, "why did I ever think I'd finish this?" to myself. I am in my zone, my happy place. I use this time to welcome the world each day. I typically use this blog to post only quilty things, but this post is completely related to quilting, or my lack of quilting...This is about my main impediment to doing more quilting! Motherhood.

I actually got my Mother's Day presents last week, so I don't expect anything like a fancy present or flowers today. They're pretty cute. Check them out...two more kids, kinda. This is over on one of my two family blogs. Here and here.

I checked in on my computer at 5:45 as usual, saw three sweet cards the hubby had the kids draw yesterday, in varying degrees of scrible (younger two). I smiled. Sometimes I still can't believe they let us take these little people home from the hospital. No manuals, no forms, no nothing. Poof - you're a mother.

That's the glamorous side of it that non-parents believe. The adoring parents holding their quiet sleeping baby while the new parents gaze on. With this we sometimes forgot how we got here. The perils of pregnancy, as delightful as they are for some, they are equally as unpleasant and not for the faint hearted for others.

The glamour of having kids...It's the side of motherhood we all still see when our kids are sound asleep, or playing cooperatively together, or whispering sweet "I love you's" in your ear. It's like the joy of showing off that big pregnant belly as though it is a badge of honor. Even though deep inside you need to pee again, and your legs ache. I still crave my 5 minutes of gently tickling Sophie's neck before bedtime so that she will giggle and nestle into my body. She still needs & wants Mama like the boys do not. Not nearly as much of the time anyways.

In my mind, I long for the glamour of motherhood still. I loved the attention of carrying the infant carrier, and the kind words from strangers about my baby. You don't get these with three and four year olds! I loved showing off the big prego belly, decorating the nurseries, and planning what a perfect family we would have.

Motherhood is not overly glamourous now. We are in the "real" stages of motherhood. Little to no glamour some days. That's nothing to be overly sad about, just a fact. We now have kids that throw fits, throw food. Children that smack eachother, and can be sassy. Kids that choose to listen when it suits them. They are still mine, and I do love them. And fortunately, they are relatively good natured and well behaved much of the time.

So on this Mother's Day, I chose to look back to the days when Motherhood was still on a high. In the hours just after each of my babies were born, I could have smiled for days. I probably did :-)


And here they are now...

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Frog is Finished

(this is actually rotated 90 degrees... the red flying geese are in the lower left-hand corner)

My frog in the blender is finished mixing. Done sewing. Completed quilting. Against my better judgement I followed what the readers told me. Keep the name! So, it is official and the label on the back of the quilt has the "Frog in the Blender" name. I hope the recipient has a sense of humor. I am a little worried...
I may add a few beads for embellishment, but the quilt is basically done to send to my ALQS partner. It will probably not be mailed for a few weeks since it's not due until July 1 (let's build some anticipation - and see if the recipient can guess if it is for her ...or him!).

I opted to heavily machine quilt this piece. I have only machine quilted 3 others so I am still something of a neophyte, but I chose my thread color and fabric carefully so that machine quilting flaws are hard to see. There's meandering free-motion quilting as well as a lot of outline stitching using my walking foot. I meandered heavily so as to make the red areas in the pieced sections poof up a bit.

I love the variety of food fabrics - kiwis, apples and watermellons, plus many bits of red and blacks from my stash. The bacl of the quilt is plain black. I should have photographed it since the quilting is more evident on the back. Maybe the recipient can show this picture.
If you ignore the fact that two of my circular pieces do not match up perfectly, which I am trying to do, I think the quilt is pretty neat. It's out of my normal box a little (OK, a lot), but it's a fun melding of traditional piecing with untraditional fabrics and a touch of more contemporary layout.

Do you think that my partner will appreciate this, or will she want to put this in the blender?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Class-y Quilt

I am making a quilt for my son's kindergarten teacher with self-portraits of each of the 16 students. The top is now finished. It is about 40" square. I got the idea from Kathy at Pink Chalk Studio, but have seen these quilts at a number of blogs. I actually bought a collection of fabric permanent pens initially thinking that the children would just draw their portraits directly onto fabric. I soon realized this would be a very messy & permanent mess which parents may not embrace. The kids drew their picture using markers on white paper, and signed their names separate from the portrait. I scanned them and added the signature to the portrait using PhotoShop. They were printed onto C.Jenkins Miracle Fabric Sheets. This is a bit pricey of a way to do this type project, but it gives me more control, keeps child cleaner. Use of PhotoShop allows me to "clean up" little messes on the art too.

Julie (aka Floribunda) showed this quilt earlier this year, which I just love. So I incorporated the concept of the shadow drop borders with the portraits. It has a totally different (& better) effect on her quilt of making them look like shadows. Since I wanted the tonal print black fabric on my quilt because it helps to make the artwork stand out, my "shadows" done in color stripes do not show off as much. Oh well. I like the look in general, and think it will be fun and appreciated once I get it quilted.

Here are a couple of closer shots. They are adorable & amusing.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Middle Man's Quilt finished

I have been puttering away with the hand-sewing on this quilt's binding for a few weeks now. It's mundane & boring, and uninspiring or else it may have been finished sooner. It's for my 3 year old's new twin bed. The above picture is the quilt's back, which is mostly the polar bear fabric, and a few diesel train squares. These fabrics (ie., trains & polar bears) were his choice. The challenge was for me to make them into a semi-cohesive quilt.
I really hate the machine quilting. I had someone do it for me. She didn't really say that there'd be stars EVERYWHERE, which bugs me. I also had hoped that the antique trains on the front that I painstakingly framed out would be quilted nicer - like perhaps to show them off better, and not just have those stupid stars all over them. Frusterating!...
The quilt will work; my son does like it. So I cannot complain too much. It is a project that is DONE.
It was hard to get a picture of the entire quilt - poor lighting, the bed is not in his room yet & the little sister really wanted to be on it!! Over on my other family blog are a couple other pictures of the back of the quilt - they include pictures of our family's newest addition(s) - go see!! We got 2 cats this week -

Friday, May 02, 2008

Frog in The Blender

Here's a sneak peek at the Frog in the Blender quilt for Kate's ALQS. I was told to keep the name, that it was catchy! he he...
It still has a couple tweaks to be done to straighten out a seam or two, but it's close to ready to be quilted & embellished. It's bold and a radical combination of traditionally untraditional - which is what I hope my partner will appreciate.